MDDUS seeks urgent clarification in the wake of GDC v Williams

MDDUS has written to the Office of the Chief Dental Officer (England) and NHS England to seek urgent clarification about the way NHS England will interpret the NHS dental charges and contracts regulations in relation to mixing NHS and private treatment.

Stephen Henderson, head of dental at MDDUS, said: “Following the GDC v Williams case, the Court of Appeal has identified a new interpretation of the regulations introduced in 2006.

“It is important that dentists and their teams have a very clear understanding of what the NHS regulations will allow when it comes to offering patients a choice about mixing NHS and private dental treatment.”

The registrant had been erased by the GDC Professional Conduct Committee which was later reduced to a nine-month period of suspension on appeal by the High Court. The appeal challenged the findings of dishonesty arising from private top-up fees being claimed from NHS patients who chose ceramic rather that NHS-standard porcelain crowns. The finding of dishonesty was overturned by the High Court and that decision was in turn upheld in the Court of Appeal.

In the two court judgments the meaning of the NHS regulations has been carefully considered. It appears that a dentist is permitted to charge top-up fees in certain circumstances.

MDDUS advises members to be extremely cautious about mixing NHS and private treatment within an individual item of treatment until NHS England has issued updated guidance.


The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.

For further information, please contact Alison Hardie, head of strategic communications and public affairs, on or on 07501 421398

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